MARTIN ELLUL is the son of ex-Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Leader of the Labour Party Guze` Ellul Mercer. He is married and has two grown-up daughters. Ellul says that he loves the countryside and the history of Malta, and in fact would like to see more books published about Malta’s political history. Currently Ellul works at Mater Dei hospital as a physiotherapist, a profession he has been practicing for the past 33 years. In the next general election Martin Ellul will also be contesting as a new candidate with the Labour Party.
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary since his father’s death, Martin Ellul speaks to RITIANNE AGIUS about his profession, childhood and upbringing, as well as his decision to follow in his late father’s footsteps by entering the political field within the Labour Party.
Working with patients who have undergone major surgeries:
Most of my work as a physiotherapist entails the physical rehabilitation of those who have undergone major surgeries. My aim as a physiotherapist is to strengthen and mobilise these patients, ensure they breath well, and see that they are as independent as possible before they return home.
It is important to say that the physiotherapist builds with the patient a relationship that influences both the patient and the family of the patient. In many instances patients are depressed about their condition, and it is through encouragement and explanation that the patient and the family realise that progress and healing, as well as a return to normal life, are possible. For example, if a patient looses a limb, it is up to the physiotherapist to teach, encourage, mobilise and strengthen the patient, so that with the use of a prosthetic limb, independent living and a return to the community are possible.
Every success story is a personal achievement, every failure is an opportunity to learn:
It is difficult to say which was my greatest professional achievement, because from the moment I qualified and started working, I started a journey of professional education and personal enrichment. By this I mean that most of the patients I treated in these past 30 years have given me the satisfaction of getting to know what was their problem and helping them solve it. This also means living with their pains and through their darkest moments, finding the strength to support them, and above all accepting the fact that as a human being I may face the same problems any time in life.
Every individual has a different story, different problems and different social backgrounds. Every individual accepts or refuses medical situations in different ways. Every individual story teaches me how to deal, understand and treat correctly. Every success story is a personal achievement, every failure is an opportunity to learn.
The drive to help and integrate with people who were less fortunate that myself probably came from my father:
Guze Ellul Mercer died when I was only four. I knew he used to visit me occasionally at my adopted parents house, but I had no idea who he was. As I grew older, I got to know of him and who he was and represented. From the earliest years I can remember finding it easy to speak to people and trying to relate to their problems and understand their way of life. As I learnt more about Guze`, and how the social situation influenced how he thought and wrote, I realised that my drive to help and integrate with people who were less fortunate than myself probably came through him being my father.
My adopted parents brought me up well and needing nothing, but they always considered people as ‘us and them’. There was always the gap between the ‘puliti u l-ordinarji’, as these two social classes were called. This was something I could not accept and eventually made me change my opinion, not only personally, but also publicly. I believe that the family one is born into should not create gaps between people. Rights are equal to all, and everyone should be allowed to live life decently and with dignity.
Upon meeting Joseph Muscat I realised where I really belonged and what I needed to do:
The opinions I have just expressed have been something I kept to myself for many years. I grew up in a Nationalist world, where blue was right and red was wrong. Looking around me I could never understand this. It was beyond me how people fighting for the rights of the less fortunate and the underpaid could be wrong. These people were often branded as ‘extreme’, or as was the case with my father, even buried in the ‘mizbla’.
About 18 months ago I wrote to Dr Joseph Muscat and expressed my wish to meet him. He met me and listened, and at the end of our encounter I realised where I really belonged and what I needed to do. About a year ago I took part and publicly spoke about my father Guze` Ellul Mercer during the 90th anniversary of the foundation of the Malta Labour Party. This speech was received very well and from then on my mind was set.
I see a party leader who is ready to involve all sections of the population and hear their opinions before decisions are taken
Today I see a Labour Party with a new leader, young and dynamic. I see a leader who is proactive and ready to involve all sections of the population so as to hear their opinions before decisions are taken. I see a Labour Party united and gathering momentum, not only to win the next general election, but also to help ease the burden the population is carrying because of harmful political decisions that require extreme sacrifice by everybody. I see a Labour Party ready to tackle the difficult road ahead in view of the decisions taken by this government and the international economical situation, including the recent weakening of the euro zone.
As a new candidate I have a long road ahead and I feel confident that my participation will give me the satisfaction of seeing the Labour Party in government. As part of the team I feel proud and ready to work and push ahead so as to finally see the Maltese people electing a government in whom they can really say: “These are the people we trust and who will work in the real interest of everybody.”